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June 2015 Newsletter


Recent iSchool News   Top ↑

UT iSchool Celebrates Accomplishments of 110 Graduates at Convocation

Although the main commencement ceremony at the University of Texas was canceled because of severe weather on May 23, the university’s School of Information continued with their convocation festivities and proudly celebrated approximately 110 graduates.

School of Information alumnus Robert A. Walton gave the convocation address, titled “Plain Talk” at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.
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UT iSchool Partners with Center For Identity to Offer First Ever Option III Program

The University of Texas School of Information has joined forces with the Center for Identity as the school ventures into its first foray of offering executive and alternative education.

The UT School of Information has partnered with the Center for Identity to create a new, Option III master’s program in Identity Management and Security. UT iSchool faculty and selected professors from around campus will oversee the program along with the director of the Center for Identity. Because of this partnership, the iSchool will offer this new degree program in fall 2015 in conjunction with its regular Master of Science in Information Studies and doctorate programs.
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Information Researchers to Create Digital Archives from Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane

Three faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin's School of Information have received a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to develop and field test a digital infrastructure for preserving and managing the historical public records from the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane in Petersburg, Virginia.

King Davis, Patricia Galloway and Unmil Karadkar will use the $763,000 to develop methods and tools for critical policy analysis, digital technology and archival preservation methods to increase access to historical mental health records and documents while still protecting privacy.
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UT iSchool Professor, Matt Lease, Earns Tenure

Matt Lease

A University of Texas School of Information faculty member, known for his innovative research and passion for teaching, reached a pinnacle point in his careers recently. Assistant Professor Matt Lease was awarded tenure this winter.

Lease has conducted research in the areas of information retrieval and crowdsourcing over the past five years. Information retrieval is the science of creating new search engine technologies such as Google while crowdsourcing helps engage people online to perform productive, human computation tasks.
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William Aspray Awarded $125,000 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

William Aspray

William Aspray, the Bill and Lewis Suit Professor of Information Technologies at the School of Information, has been awarded $125,000 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to study the history of IT Education and its relation to broadening the IT workforce in the United States. The award is the first of its kind for the UT School of Information.

The purpose of this study is to provide an historical account of the rise of IT education in the United States, from just after the Second World War until the recent past. The project will consider all kinds of computing-related education (including information studies), both formal and informal, at all levels. While the main focus is on the evolving development of educational offerings, consideration is also given to the roles of government agencies and nonprofit organizations in these developments and to efforts to broaden and diversify the information workforce for both economic and social justice reasons.
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Jacek Gwizdka Receives Google Research Award

Jacek Gwizdka

Jacek Gwizdka, Assistant Professor in the School of Information and co-Director of the Information eXperience Lab at University of Texas at Austin, and Dania Bilal, a Professor in the iSchool of Information Sciences at University of Tennessee, and have received a $41,363 Google Research Award for a project titled "Child-friendly search engine results pages (SERPs): Towards better understanding of Google search results readability by children." In this project, Drs. Bilal and Gwizdka will investigate how children read and assess the reading levels of Google's search results pages (SERPs). One of the goals of this project is to modify Google's Reading Level metric.

Dr. Bilal is one of most often-cited researchers worldwide on children's cognitive and affective information behavior in using and interacting with information retrieval systems in multicultural contexts. Her research is situated at the intersection of information retrieval, information behavior, and human-computer interaction. She teaches courses in information access and retrieval, human-computer interaction, Web mining, information systems design and implementation, and research methods.
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Randolph Bias wins teaching award

Randolph Bias

While the iSchool offers no undergraduate major, that doesn’t mean we are uninvolved in undergraduate education at The University of Texas at Austin. We offer an undergraduate minor, plus for the last five years iSchool prof Randolph Bias has taught a course for freshpersons in the Signature Class program offered by the School of Undergraduate Studies. These signature classes are intended to “connect students with distinguished faculty members in unique learning environments,” and afford them “college-level skills in research, writing, speaking, and discussion through an approach that is interdisciplinary, collaborative, experiential and contemporary.” Last year Randolph’s “Usability and User-Centered Design” course earned him the Signature Course Essential Elements Award for Excellence in Teaching Information Literacy. He looks forward to introducing 18 more 18-year-olds to the largest single-campus university in the nation again this fall!

Hyun Joon Jung Receives 2015 Samsung Human-Tech Paper Award

Hyun Joon Jung

Hyun Joon Jung, a PhD candidate in the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of Texas at Austin, was awarded a distinguished Silver Prize in Computer Science at the 21st Annual International Samsung Human-Tech Paper Awards, held on February 11, 2015.

Jung's dissertation research is actively developing new statistical models to ensure the quality of data collected online via crowdsourcing. The Human-Tech prize was specifically awarded to him for his paper entitled, "A Discriminative Approach to Predicting Assessor Accuracy", to appear in the 37th European Conference on Information Retrieval. The paper was co-authored with his PhD advisor at the iSchool, Prof. Matthew Lease.
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iSchool Students Complete Library of Congress "Horns On The Hill" Metadata Internship

Instead of soaking up the sun in a traditional Spring Break getaway setting, UT iSchool students Laura Fry and Megan Martinsen participated in the ‘Horns on the Hill program by completing internships at the Law Library of Congress.

Fry and Martinsen created metadata for the historical Statutes at Large the Law Library of Congress has digitized and plans to make available on their website. The Statutes at Large is the official record of the Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the U.S. Congress. The metadata project included identifying factors such as title and date but also more complex information like assigning keywords from a controlled vocabulary.
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Horns on the Hill